5.5" trail bike in DC Metro area?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    5.5" trail bike in DC Metro area?

    I'm looking for a bike for my wife that'll make riding as easy as possible for her. She'll be riding trails like Schaeffer, Hoyles Connector, Hoyles North, Fairland, Roseryville, etc.

    Would going with a 5.5" trail bike be what I want, or would it be overkill? My "long travel" bike is a single speed with 3.75" of travel, so I don't really have the necessary frame of reference for this.

  2. #2
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    5.5" is 140 mm. That's definitely overkill for the Moco stuff you mention, in a conventional sense. You sound like you're looking for overkill though, to make her as comfortable as possible.

    I'd consider what part of the riding you're trying to make 'easy' for her. If it's the physical exertion (climbing and such) then full suspension may not be the way to go. If it's more about bike handling and getting over roots, rocks, logs and such then I'd say you're on the right track.

    My wife rides a Trek Fuel with 130 mm travel on similar trails (Schaeffer and Black Hills mostly) and she loves it. If she were more concerned with speed I wouldn't have gotten that for her, but she just wants to feel confident rolling over stuff which that does for her. We've even discussed the lock out on smoother trails and she always says 'no, I like it squishy!'

  3. #3
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    My wife can sit on a bike and pedal for hours. It's the technical I need to make easier for her. She's not an aggressive rider and easily gets inside her own head, so a bike that inspires confidence and can kind of take care of itself on technical sections is what I'm really after.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic View Post
    My wife can sit on a bike and pedal for hours. It's the technical I need to make easier for her. She's not an aggressive rider and easily gets inside her own head, so a bike that inspires confidence and can kind of take care of itself on technical sections is what I'm really after.
    a different bike isn't going to do that. Sounds like what she could use is some lessons/coaching.

  5. #5
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    Considering her current bike is a 90's hardtail, I think it will.

  6. #6
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    Consider the Full Stache. But I'd let her ride some stuff. Coming from a 90's hardtail, even a regular 27.5 vs 29 will feel different. Going to plus size tires on either will be another step in the departure from what she's used to. When my wife was looking for a new bike, I got lucky and my LBS had 27.5 Sparks and Spark 29ers in stock in her size. Without explaining what I was doing or talking about the difference, I had her ride both bikes and tell me which she liked better, and we went from there.

    Plus size tires on tech and rock - provided the rock isn't sharp enough to cut the tires - are a huge confidence boost. It sounds like the downside to plus size tires - extra weight - won't be a problem for your wife since she can pedal away for a while and sounds to be in good shape.

  7. #7
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    Get something like a Tallboy 3 or something in the 120mm range that can take a 130mm fork. That should be a good blend for those trails. Let's her feel the trail but will inspire confidence.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic View Post
    My wife can sit on a bike and pedal for hours. It's the technical I need to make easier for her. She's not an aggressive rider and easily gets inside her own head, so a bike that inspires confidence and can kind of take care of itself on technical sections is what I'm really after.
    I'd look at something like the Trek Fuel with plus tires, that's what my wife is riding for the same reasons. She loves it and seems to feel very confident on it considering her lack of experience riding (yet).

    Quote Originally Posted by Joules View Post
    a different bike isn't going to do that.
    Yes, it is.

  9. #9
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    Moco stuff 120mm should be fine. Anything more is overkill and will make it harder to pedal. Think XC not AM.
    3 Bikes to rule them all
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  10. #10
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    Too late! Her 140mm Live Intrigue 1 is already on the way.

    However, we got it for a great price, so at worst she'll ride it this year to figure out what she likes and doesn't like, and then next year we'll sell the Intrigue and buy her something more dialed in.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic View Post
    Too late! Her 140mm Live Intrigue 1 is already on the way.

    However, we got it for a great price, so at worst she'll ride it this year to figure out what she likes and doesn't like, and then next year we'll sell the Intrigue and buy her something more dialed in.
    Good, I hope she enjoys it. Lot’s of people on shorter travel bikes warn not to “overbike”....but you rarely hear people on longer travel trail bikes yearn for less travel...and especially where you want to inspire confidence, err on the side of slacker geometry and more travel.

  12. #12
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    That was my thought, especially since it's only 140mm of travel and not 200mm of travel. I think a little overkill to boost her confidence is a good thing.

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